SOUTH YARMOUTH – It goes without saying that many Cape Cod Baseball League players are tremendous athletes. Even so, some are more athletic than others.
Over the years, the Cape League has attracted some of the nation’s top collegiate ballplayers. Their talent isn’t limited to the diamond, though—former Oklahoma University star Kylar Murray played for the Harwich Mariners in 2017 and now plays quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals in the National Football League.
Arlington native Pat Connaughton is another two-sport athlete who cut his teeth in the Cape League. He pitched in two outings for Harwich in 2013 and just recently won an NBA title playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Whether Chatham newcomer Nolan Mclean will join Murray and Connaughton in their elite class as two-sport athletes who went on to play different sports professionally after appearing in the Cape League is yet to be seen, though Anglers manager Tom Holliday seems to think Mclean, who has a football pedigree, will ultimately stick with baseball.
“He’s a really good third baseman,” Holliday said. “I think he’s going to be playing in the big leagues for a long time.”
Mclean made his debut for Chatham on July 27 in a 10-5 victory at Wareham. The North Carolina native was a late arrival on the Cape this summer after tweaking his back during his spring season at Oklahoma State, where he is coached by Holliday’s two sons, Josh and Matt.
The right-handed hitting Mclean enrolled at OK State as a two-sport athlete and was a back-up quarterback for the Cowboys’ football team last fall. Although football is on the back burner—for the upcoming season, anyway—Mclean said it was memorable to suit up for both OSU teams as a freshman, even if he didn’t receive playing time on the gridiron.
“Obviously you’d want to play and get on the field a little bit, but it’s a little harder to do that in football as a freshman than it is baseball,” Mclean said. “But it was cool to just be around the camaraderie of the sport.”
Mclean is batting .273 for Chatham and has gone 6 for 22 with two home runs and six RBIs through seven games. While some Cape League players might have been happy to see those numbers after their first week in the league, Mclean expects more from himself and is striving to finish the season strong.
“I haven’t hit in two months, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself,” Mclean said. “But at the same time, I’m trying to be the best I can. I’m still not playing the way I should be. I’ve been playing OK and I need to be a lot better.”
Still, even if the Cowboy hasn’t been thrilled with his production, the elder Holliday has been happy to see him get a small taste of the Cape League.
“I’m just tickled to death that he got to play in the Cape this summer,” Holliday said. “He’s not the guy that he is, but he can still light you up.”
Playing for the Anglers also gave Mclean the opportunity to compare Holliday—nicknamed T.H. by the Chatham players and coaches—with his two sons, Josh, the Cowboys’ head coach and Matt, an assistant on the OSU staff.
“Matt is a little more laid back and Josh is a little bit in between,” Mclean said when asked to describe the difference between the three coaches in the Holliday family. “But T.H. has a little more spunk about him that people like.”
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BradJoyal